There is much  to like in School District 61. But it is time for change in regard to the issues below, and others I will blog about in the coming days and weeks on my blog page.

Have you ever attended a Board meeting in School District 61? Have you ever made an impassioned statement or plea in the five minutes you are allotted? (That is, if you follow the process to get on the agenda several days before the meeting.) If you have, you will have felt that amazement we’ve all felt when your points and questions disappear into “a committee”, and the only reply you get from the Chair is “Thank you”, unless someone gets upset?  I’d like to see

  • An immediate reply from the trustee of your choice
  • An immediate reply from one other trustee
  • Notification when your issue is on an agenda
  • Two five minute spaces on every Board agenda for public speakers not on the agenda

Have you struggled with finding the money to pay for the fees for Academy schools? Have you felt better  knowing that if you go in to the school and tell the Principal you’re poor and cant afford the fee, that it will be waived? As a single parent, I know that doesn’t feel good, and this form of begging should not be required of anyone whose child is attends a public school. I’d like to see

  • Free, no-fee public education

Do you wonder why your tax dollars subsidize private schools? So do I, and I will do whatever I can to

  • End public taxes used to subsidize private schools

Are you tired of all the driving and biking and busing to get to your child’s school? Is your K-5 child overwhelmed in a school that has 600 students?I’ll work to keep

  • Small neighbourhood schools, with no selloff of public assets

As a former  learning support teacher and special education / Reading Recovery teacher, I knew first hand the struggle for adequate (even adequate, not necessarily optimal) assistant time for students with special needs,  the struggles to keep class sizes at a level that works for students and teachers, to provide  counsellor time, to retain specialist  teacher time for learning support, to keep the library open, never mind staffed to an optimal level, and more. Budgets handed down from bureaucrats who do not understand the service levels needed to fulfil the mandate of public education are not working for the children in our school district. I want

  • Community based budgets fully funded for public education needs

Public education is a foundation of our democratic society. But schools are increasingly moving into a retail model, trying to brand themselves to attract customers. There is funding magic in student numbers. Numbers attract administration time and other things that are nice to have.  School District 61 has a Curling Academy secondary school, a High School that is a Centre for Soccer Excellence, a Hockey Skills and Lacrosse Academy high school, and a  Baseball and Softball Academy secondary school. One school features a learning support / “resource room” in its “pitch” to potential customers.I’d expect learning support in a school.I’m not at all sure that we send students to secondary school to become better baseball players. What’s next? Frisbee golf? Surfing? I thought these were things people did in their time outside of school. I won’t support any more

  • “Academy” “boutique” branding of public schools

Have you ever wondered why there is a need for so many secret meetings in School District 61? Minutes might as well report  “Secret things you taxpayers  don’t need to know about were discussed.” Trustees need to examine their reasons for secret meetings. I will work toward

  • Fewer or no in camera (secret) meetings
  • Video records of all Board and Committee meetings

Although some local officials seem not to understand this, I understand that one does not need “proof” to apply the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle means “Don’t go forward until the proof is clear”, not “Go ahead with the experiment on the population and environment until you’re proven wrong”. The effects of increasing electromagnetic frequency radiation  our children and the environment, other animals, and ourselves is a large experiment in the name of wireless company profits. Wireless technology in schools is a frivolous expansion of electromagnetic frequency radiation. There have been recent headlines telling us how to minimize the risk of cancer by changing how we use cell phones. Do you want to wait for the future public service announcement that tells us to minimize the risk of cancer (and more) by avoiding wireless environments, and  unnecessary use of wireless technology, as much as possible, and certainly for our children? I expect and will work for

  • No wireless technology in elementary schools, and hard wiring of present technology in middle and secondary schools

These are a few of my concerns. Please contact me if your concern is not addressed here.